Background: Many types of occupational exposure are associated with the risk of non-infectious rhinitis. We investigate the risk factors for this association.
Methods: A random population of 2,044 subjects (aged 21-51) answered a questionnaire that was comprised of detailed questions on occupational exposure, nasal complaints, and smoking. NIR was defined as the sensation of nasal blockage and/or attacks of sneezing without having a cold. The incidence rates for NIR among exposed and unexposed were calculated. In the different exposed groups, only NIR with onset after the start of exposure was regarded as exposed. If a subject reported NIR before the relevant exposure started, he/she was excluded from that analysis. Relative risks (RR) were calculated as incidence rate ratios. Odds ratios controlling for smoking, age, and atopy were also calculated.
Results: The incidence rate for NIR was 13.5/1,000 person-years. Males exposed to fire fumes (RR 2.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.5-4.1), women exposed to paper dust (RR 2.0, 95% CI 1.5-2.9), and male cleaners (RR 3.1, 95% CI 1.9-5.1) displayed an increased risk of developing NIR. Smoking was associated with an increased risk of NIR for both sexes.
Conclusions: Exposure to several occupational irritants is associated with a higher risk of developing NIR.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.